By Air: Turkish airlines (THY) provides the best widest network of domestic flights from the international Airports Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Adana, Trabzon, Dalaman, Antalya and Kayseri to all major Turkish cities.There are bus connections to and from airports and city terminals.
By Sea: Turkish Maritime Lines has several coastal services providing excellent opportunities for travelling in Turkey. Ferries operating from Istanbul to major Black Sea and Aegean ports offer an alternative to conventional means of transportation. For those looking for a panoramic journey in Istanbul, ferries operate between numerous piers and provide delightful sightseeing tours in Bosphorus.
By Rail: The wide network of the Turkish State Railways connects most major cities. The trains have couchettes, sleeping cars, restaurants, with lounge cars offering first and second class accommodation. In the Aegean Region, it is possible for groups to charter a Steam Train which has all kind of facilities for tripsthrough this beautiful region.
By Road: Road Network: Turkey has an extensive network of well maintained roads linking towns, cities and popular tourist areas. When arriving from Europe, the Bosphorus crossing to Asia has been greatly facilitated by the completion of the Istanbul by-pass and the two Bosphorus Bridges leading to the Istanbul-Ankara motorway. The E80 and E90 are the two main roads leading to Turkey from its European borders.
Road Signs: Turkish road signs conform to the International Protocol on Road Signs. Archaeological and historical sites are indicated by brown signs.
Traffic Circulation: Traffic circulates on the right and the Turkish highway code is similar to those of European countries. There is a 50km/hr speed limit in urban centers and a 90km/hr limit outside urban centers.
Petrol: Filling stations are well placed; many of them also contain restaurants that are open 24 hours. Unleaded fuel is available at most stations.
Inter-city coaches: Many private companies provide frequent day and night services between all Turkish cities.Coaches depart from the bus station (Otogar) in large towns and from the center of town in smaller regions.
Taxis and Dolmus: Taxis are numerous in all Turkish cities and are recognizable by their yellow colour. The fare shown on the meter reads according to the distance traveled . the "Dolmus". A special service found only in Turkey, is a collective taxi which follows specific routes and is recognizable by itsyellow band. Each passanger pays according to the distance traveled and can get off at specific stops. The relatively cheap fares are fixed by the municipality. The "Dolmus" provides a service within large cities, to supurbs, airports, and often the neighboring towns. This is a very practical means of transportation and much cheaper than the taxi.
Location : Turkey straddles the borders of Europe and Asia with the majority of the country in Southwest Asia. It has a total area of 780,580 sq.km. that lies within Europe. The country is bordered at the east by Georgia, Armenia and Iran with Iraq, Syria and the Mediterranean Sea on the south. The Aegean Sea, Greece and Bulgaria are to the west, and the Black Sea forms the northern border. Turkey's geographical coordinates are 36o 00' to 42o 00' north latitude and 26o 00' to 45o 00' east longitude.
Geographical Regions : Turkey, which has 80 administrative provinces, is divided into seven geographical regions; the Black Sea region, the Marmara region, the Aegean region, the Mediterranean region, Central Anatolia, the East and Southeast Anatolia regions
Coastlines : Turkey is surrounded by sea on three sides, by Black Sea in the north, the Mediterranean Sea in the south and the Aegean Sea in the west. In the northwest, there is an internal sea, the Sea of Marmara, between the straits of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus, which are important waterways that connect the Black Sea with the rest of the world. The coastline of Turkey (excluding islands) is 8333 km.
Rivers : Most of the rivers of Turkey flow into the seas surrounding the country. The Firat (Euphrates) and Dicle (Tigris) join together in Iraq and flow into the Persian Gulf. Turkey's largest rivers, the Kizilirmak, Yesilirmak and Sakarya, flow into the Black Sea. The Susurluk, Biga and Gönen pour into the Sea of Marmara, the Gediz, Küçük Menderes, Büyük Menderes, and Meriç into the Aegean and the Seyhan, Ceyhan and Göksu into the Mediterranean.
Mountains : In the Marmara region the most important peak is the Uludag (2543 m) at the same time it is a major winter sports and tourist centre. In the Aegean region, the mountains fall perpendicularly to the sea. In the Mediterranean region, located in the south of Turkey, the western and central Taurus Mountains suddenly rise up behind the coastline. The Central Anatolia Region is exactly in the middle of Turkey and gives the appearance of being less mountainous compared with other regions. The main peaks of the region are Karadag, Karacadag, Hasandag, and Erciyes (3917 m). The Eastern Anatolia region is Turkey's largest and highest region. About three-fourths is at an altitude of 1500 - 2000 metres. There are numerous inactive volcanoes in the region, including Nemrut, Suphan, Tendurek and Turkey's highest peak where Noah's Ark was landed, Mount Agri (Ararat) is 5165 metres high.
Lakes : In terms of numbers of lakes, the Eastern Anatolia region is the richest. It contains Turkey's largest, Lake Van (3713 sq.km.). There are also many lakes in west Tourus Mountains area; the Beysehir and Egridir lakes. Important lakes are; the second largest lake in Turkey, Tuzgölü, Burdur, Sapanca, Iznik, Ulubat, Manyas (bird sanctuary), Aksehir, and Eber. As a result of the construction of dams during the past thirty years, several large dam lakes have come into existence in the Eastern Anatolia such as, Keban, Karakaya, and Atatürk.
Women's Rights : After the proclamation of the Republic under the leadership of Atatürk, women were granted contemporary social rights and became equal in status to men. In 1930, women were given the right to elect and be elected to the assemblies in the municipalities and the parliament. Equality before the law, which is one of the essential principles of the Turkish Constitution, also applies to both sexes.
The Climate : Although Turkey is situated in a geographical location where climatic conditions are quite temperate, the diverse nature of the landscape, and the existence in particular of the mountains that run parallel to the coasts, result in significant differences in climatic conditions from one region to the other. While the coastal regions enjoy milder climates, the inland Anatolia plateau experiences hot summers and cold winters with limited rainfall.
Language : The Turkish language is spread over a large geographical are in Europe and Asia; it is spoken in the Azeri, the Turkmen, the Tartar, the Uzbek, the Baskurti; the Hogay, the Kirgiz, the Kazakh, the Yakuti, the Guvas, and other dialects. The Turkish spoken in Turkey represents that of the Turkish language group coming from the southwest branch of the Uralic-Altayic language family. The oldest written records of Turkish are found upon stone monuments in Central Asia, in the Orhun, Yenisey and Talas regions within the boundaries of present day Mongolia, and belong to the years 725, 732 and 735 A.D. After the formation of the Turkish Republic in 1923 and following the achievement of national unity, Latin alphabet using Turkish phonetics was adopted in 1928.
Flora and Fauna : As the climate and topography vary greatly in Turkey, so does the flora and fauna. The Black Sea region is renowned for its forests of leaf bearing and coniferous trees and for the apples, pears, cherries which is originated from Turkey, hazelnuts, mandarin oranges, tobacco and tea that are grown there. Along the eastern Mediterranean shores the local vegetation is tropical, with flourishing banana, palm and citrus trees and sugar cane and cotton. From the western Mediterranean, Aegean and Marmara coasts: olive, citrus and pine trees along the mountains are found. On the steppes of Central Anatolia: natural pastures with scattered-forested areas. In Europe, there are 11,500 kind of flora with flowers. In Turkey, this number is 9,000 but 3,000 of this flora only grow in Turkey.
Animals : Turkey is the habitat of the same animals that can be found in the European countries, plus many from Asia and Africa. There are 60,000 animal species in the whole continent of Europe. Turkey has 80,000. Turkey is home to birds of many kinds, especially in the "Birds Paradises" the national park on Lake Manyas, Sultan Sazligi near Kayseri, in Izmir Çamalti Tuzlasi etc.
Population : On the general basis, the population in Turkey is characterised by youth and dynamism. According to a 1997 population census, Turkey has 62.6 million inhabitants. Although there has been a marked migration into town, approximately 47 percent of the population still lives in the rural areas. Although the official language is Turkish, English is widely spoken in Turkey. There are many high schools and universities where the curriculum is based on English, German and French are other commonly spoken foreign languages. Istanbul, which was the capital of three empires, is Turkey's largest city, with approximately 9.1 million inhabitants. Ankara, the capital city, has 3.69 million in habitants. The next largest cities are Izmir, Konya and Adana.
History : According to the historical records of China, the earliest known Turks lived in Dzungaria, to the north of East Turkestan in 2000 B.C. During the 1500's B.C., the Turks scattered, becoming nomads and warrior tribes and settling in the regions of Altai and the Tien Shan Mountains. Political military and climatic changes, in this region from the 2nd century onwards, caused the nomadic tribes to establish settled civilisations along the edges of the steppes. The Huns settled in the Central Asia and Europe; the Akhuns in Afghanistan and north India; the Oghuz in Iran and Anatolia; the Bulgars in the Balkans and on the banks of the Volga; the Sabars in the Caucasia; the Pecheneks, Kipchaks and Uzs in Eastern Europe and the Balkans; and the Uigurs in inner Asia. Thus, between the 2nd century B.C. and the 20th century A.D. the original Turkish tribes scattered themselves over an area of 18 million square kilometres, and founded several states and empires. Meanwhile Anatolia, where eastern and western civilisations meet, nourished the most ancient civilisations of the world, the Hattis were the oldest known people of Anatolia; they attained a high level of civilisation in 2500 B.C. The Hittite, who entered Anatolia via the Caucasus mountains, integrated with the Hattis and established the first social and political organisation in Anatolia. The Hurrians, Luwians, Urartians, Phyrigians, Lydians, Carians, Lycians, Ionians, and Byzantines all established great civilisations here. Eventually, Anatolia's final owners, the Turks, created three great states on this soil.
It was the Seljuks of Oghuz Turks who opened the doors of Anatolia for the Turks. They established a powerful empire in western Asia in 990 A.D. In 1071 the Seljuk Emperor Alparslan reached the frontiers of Anatolia and defeated the Byzantine emperor, Romanus IV Diogenes at Malazgirt in Eastern Anatolia. The Anatolian Seljuk State was based at Konya and owned a flowering civilisation, but it was short-lived because of the attacks of the Mongols who defeated it fatally at the Battle of Erzincan in 1243. After this defeat, Anatolia broke up into several principalities. One of these, the Ottoman Turks, eventually reunited the other principalities previously under Seljuk domination and re-established the unity of Anatolia.
Thus, they founded one of the largest and longest-lived empires of history and created a great civilisation and culture which reached its apogee in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries under a succession of brilliant rulers, including Mehmet II, the Conqueror of Istanbul; Süleyman I, known in Europe as 'the Magnificent'; and Murad IV, Conqueror of Baghdad and Yerevan. These sultans were not only brilliant generals and statesmen, but also highly educated men who wrote poetry and composed music within the Ottoman Court tradition and were generous patrons to the visual arts. From the end of seventeenth century, however, the Ottoman Empire went into a gradual decline, which culminated with the end of 1st World War. The Ottoman Empire, which joined the World War in 1914 as a result of a "fail accompli", had come to the brink of collapse at the end of this War. Having been defeated by the Allied Powers, it was forced to sign the Serves Treaty in 1920, which brought forth the partition of the empire. At this most defining moment of out history, under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the Turkish nation waged the War of Independence, against the foreign powers to be able to live as a free, sovereign and independent country.
The War of Independence started on May 19th, 1919 and ended by the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey on October 23rd, 1923. The Turkish Grand National Assembly abolished the Sultanate on November 1st, 1922, thus ending over six centuries of the reign of Ottoman Empire. The Lausanne Peace Treaty, which was signed on July 24th, 1923, the following long negotiations certified and legalised the victory won in the Turkish War of Independence.
The revolutionary reforms that Great Atatürk put into force during his presidency of fifteen years following the founding of our Republic were aimed at transforming the country into a constitutional, modern state. These reforms laid the fundamentals of the new Republic.
The Republic has introduced universal principles of law to Turkey. In this context, the idea that all citizens are equal and free without any discrimination based on race, language, and religion, establishes the basis of the Republican Covenant, which ensures social unity. Secularism, which brings under guarantee the freedom of religion and belief; democracy, which enables citizens to express their thoughts freely and to participate in political process; and the rule of law, which makes it possible for them to live free from fear and oppression, are products of the social contract of the Republic. The constitutional democracy in Turkey is established on this sound basis. In retrospect, the experience of 75 years proves that the Turkish people have taken hold of this new beginning to reach the level of modern civilisation.
Marriage : Since the adoption of the Republican Civil code in 1926, based of the Swiss Civil Code, Turkish males can marry only one woman at a time. It is forbidden by law in Turkey to marry before the age of 15 in the case of females and 17 in the case of males. Early marriages are more frequent in the rural areas than in the cities, where the education, military service, acquiring a profession and other factors tend to delay marriages. In rural areas, marriages are generally in line with the wishes or approval of the families involved whereas in cities it is generally the couple themselves that make the decision to marry.
Religion and Secularity : 99% of the Turkish population is Moslem. However, everyone in Turkey has freedom of religion and beliefs. The first phases in the introduction of secularism were the abolition of the Caliphate and the Ministry of Sheria and Pious Foundations on March 4th, 1924, followed by the introduction of separate educational and judicial systems, the hat reform, the closure of dervish retreats and religious sects, the acceptance of a Sunday weekend holiday rather than the Moslem Friday and finally the adoption of the principle of secularism in the constitution on 1937. In secular Turkey, all religious affairs are carried out by a central government organisation affiliated to the Prime Ministry, namely the Department of Religious Affairs.
Frontier Formalities, Passport and Visas :
Nationals of the following countries can enter Turkey with a valid passport; a visa is required: Up to 3 Months Germany, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belize, United Arab Emirates, Denmark, Morocco, Fiji, Finland, France, Granada, Iran, Switzerland, Iceland, Jamaica, Japan, Canada, Qatar, Kenya, Kuwait, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Monaco, Norway, Oman, St. Lucia, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Trinidad, Tobago, Tunisia, Vatican City, New Zealand, Greece, Ecuador, Sweden, Israel, South Korea, Uruguay. Up to 2 Months The Republic of Croatia, The Republic of Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rumania, Macedonia, Indonesia. Up to 1 Month Bolivia, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, The Republic of South Africa. For the countries mentioned above and Bulgaria, a transit visa is not required. Nationals of the following countries require a visa: U.S.A., Austria, United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Holland, and Portugal can obtain a sticker visa at border gates (Up to 3 Months). Azerbaijan, White Russia, Armenia, Moldavia, Uzbekistan, Russia, Tadzhikistan Ukraine, Hungary, Poland, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Georgia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Taiwan can obtain a sticker visa at border gates (Up to 1 Month). Nationals of Guatemala can obtain a visa for up to 15 days at border gates. Nationals of Jordan, up to 30 days. Nationals of all other countries require a visa, which can be obtained from the nearest Turkish embassy or consulate.
Note: Citizens of Germany, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, Italy, Malta, Switzerland, and Greece may enter Turkey with the proper identity cards in lieu of a passport.
Formalities For Private Yacht Owners : Yachts require a Transit Log and may remain in Turkish waters for up to two years maintenance or for wintering. There are certain ports licensed by the Ministry of Tourist the storage of yachts for a period of two to five years. For further information and regulations contact the marina concerned. Upon arriving in Turkish waters, yachts should immediately go for control of the ship to the nearest port of entry which are as follows: Iskenderun, Botas (Adana), Mersin, Tasucu, Anamur, Alanya, Antalya, Kemer, Finike, Kas, Fethiye, Marmaris, Datça, Bodrum, Güllük Didim, Kusadasi, Çesme, Izmir, Dikili, Ayvalik, Akçay, Çanakkale, Bandirma, Tekirdag, Istanbul, Zonguldak, Sinop, Samsun, Ordu, Giresun, Trabzon, Rize, Hopa.
Port Formalities : All the required information concerning the yacht, yachtsmen, members, intended route, passports, customs declarations, health clearance, and any obligatory matters must be entered in the Transit Log.
The Transit Log is to he completed by the captain of a yacht under a foreign flag or amateur sailor acting as captain of the vessel.
The Transit Log is completed upon first entering a Turkish port and, generally, it is necessary to contact the Harbour Authority before leaving. For information on tax-free fuel, contact the Marina Harbour Office.
Note: If you have a certificate from the Tourism Ministry Yacht Harbour, you may take petrol at no charge, provided you possess an official marina license.
Formalities For Private Plane Owners : General : When coming to Turkey, international air routes should he followed. Private planes may stay for up to three months in Turkey with tourist status, but for longer periods permission should be obtained from;
The General Directorate of Customs (Gümrükler Genel Müdürlügü),
Ulus Ankara, Tel: (312) 3103880,3103818,Fax: (312) 311 1346
The airports of Ankara, Adana, Istanbul, Izmir, Antalya, Trabzon and Dalaman have ties for private planes. It is also possible to hire planes and helicopters in Turkey.
For further information, apply to;
The Civil Aviation Department of the Ministry of Transport (Ulastirma Bakanligi, Havacilik Gen. Müd.). Bosna-Hersek Cad., No: 5 - 06338 - Emek, Ankara. Tel: (312) 212 67 30, Fax: (312) 212 46 84, TIx : 44659 Ga-tr.